The dollar threshold for a disaster recovery project considered “small” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has gone up by more than half, to $120,000.
Small construction projects that FEMA funds through public assistance grants after presidentially declared major disasters are subject to significantly fewer paperwork and inspection requirements. The state, local and tribal governments and some nonprofits eligible to receive FEMA grants for rebuilding disaster-damaged facilities get the money upfront when the project is considered small, rather than having to wait until after FEMA can process documented proof of costs incurred.
A FEMA analysis from earlier this year concluded that over the past seven years, 88 percent of projects have been small – and despite that overwhelming percentage, they’ve consumed only 15 percent of public assistance grant dollars. Under the new threshold, that number would have been 93 percent of all projects and 20 percent of grant money – the latter also being the median percentage of small project amount dollars over the past seven years.